Faithful In Adversity

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Engagament Anniversary

Today is the second anniversary of the day on which I officially proposed marriage to the former Janalee Whippler. This blog server has refused once to publish my entry to that effect; it you're seeing it now, that means I finally got it to do its job.

Engagement Anniversary

Today is the second anniversary of the day on which I officially proposed marriage to the former Janalee Whippler. Today we will celebrate it indirectly by attending a Christian small-group-fellowship potluck. I hope to find free time later to say more of what has happened this weekend; I'll add it in the form of a comment addition to this post.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

God has been faithful to us!

On July 1, 2007, I received word from my realtor John Toner, a fellow Christian, that a buyer has made an offer on my house in Maryland! Soon the house I shared with Mary before she was called away to her Heavenly mansion will pass into the hands of another Christian couple, while Janalee and I will move to Colorado. Meanwhile, God has also provided me with exactly the kind of online work I was hoping for, which I will be able to do from our new house while staying close to Jan. Lord willing, Jan and I will acquire a tandem bicycle, and start exploring the excellent bike trails of the Denver area.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Competing demands for loyalty

My pal Joe Whitchurch asked me what Presidential candidate I prefer. I like Duncan Hunter, because he seems genuinely LOYAL to America, not to his own privileges. His loyalty shows in his dedication to securing our borders.

Too few people these days, when immigration is discussed, even take account of the importance of loyalty in the whole issue. Illegal Mexican immigrants usually display admirable fidelity and care toward their own families--but choose not to believe that they owe any loyalty to the nation at whose trough they want to feed.

In 1982, I became a sponsor for a Laotian refugee family, the Lotakhoons; they came legally, and were willing to abide by America's laws. In 1986, in Navy basic training, I had a Filipino friend who was trying to earn U.S. citizenship for his family through military service; sadly, he died of a heart attack. That was a loss to America, for my friend Jesus Paredes was a man who could harmonize the demands for loyalty made by family and country. In 2002, I gave some assistance to a Kenyan woman named Gillian; she wanted to be a loyal U.S. citizen. Right now, a Chinese acquaintance of mine called Jian-Ming is waiting forlornly to be granted U.S. residence; he is willing to be loyal to America, but swarms of illegals who despise U.S. law are being given preference over him. EVERY ONE of the people I have referenced in this paragraph was NON-WHITE; so, somebody please explain to me why my sympathy for their hopes makes me a white supremacist.

Elected officials of both parties are guilty of preferring illegals who would betray the safety of America for their own advantage, over legal immigrants who offer loyalty to America. In many cases, I believe that these officials are motivated by still another loyalty: they are devoted to the delusional ideal of a "global village," which requires the erasing of national independence. This is definitely a case where bigger is not better.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Getting the chance to preach what I practice

Shortly before Easter, I had some conversations with a woman I often see in my neighborhood. She complained about what she considered to be careless spending on her husband's part, saying she had let him know she was angry about it. Though I do _not_ for a minute believe that this was a "My husband doesn't understand me" come-on aimed at me, I gently told her that it is not usually a good idea for a married person to speak harshly about his/her spouse to an acquaintance of the opposite sex. I went on to advise her not to let this one issue damage what seemed otherwise to be a good marriage. If his spending ended up causing trouble, it would be better for him to realize it himself, and not be able to blow off responsibility by fixating on her having "nagged" him. (No double standard here, for I do similarly with my wife's spending.)

At a later encounter, the woman told me that things had gotten better between her and her husband, and she thanked me emphatically for my advice. She certainly had a more pleasant Easter for _not_ having fought out the money issue to a bitter end; and hopefully, the advice about not bad-mouthing her husband to another man (which, as I say, she was NOT intending in any shady way) will stick with her.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Last Report For 2006


This commuter marriage, with Janalee staying in
Illinois for her sinus health while I try to get our Maryland
house ready to sell, has already given me material for
several columns, just from what I've heard and experienced
while travelling back and forth between house and wife.

After spending Christmas with Janalee, I headed back
east so as to be back in the Baltimore area before New
Year's Eve. On the way past Bloomington, Illinois, I did
something I _never_ do anymore: I picked up a hitchhiker.
People scoff at people saying God led them to some action,
but I say God led me to pick up this man and take him as
far as Indianapolis as he sought to get to Alabama where
his brother lives. The fact that I'm writing this attests
that he didn't murder me. I intend to go back to NOT
picking up hitchhikers, but this time was God's will. (Since
the main theme of this weblog is loyalty, I have to admit
that my action could be regarded as a betrayal of my
obligations to Janalee, since if the risk I took had led to
my death she would be left in a bad position. But I was
obeying God--the highest of loyalties--and He saw to it
that no harm befell me.)

This was one of those cases where an article almost
writes itself, because my passenger had quite a story to
tell. At least a few details are subject to verification, if I
ever bother to trace them; but in any case he told a good
story...and I didn't want to leave a man who looked older
than myself at the mercy of the snowstorm I believed
was following on my heels. (He turned out to be younger
than I--but I imagine being severely injured in a tornado
spun off by Hurricane Katrina might age you, and he
said that this had happened to him.)

In Scotland, it seems, there is a family called Keenan,
some of whose members came to the United States and
dropped the last two letters of their surname when they
immigrated to the United States. (My subsequent effort
to locate the clan in Scotland seems to show that they
can be found around Glasgow and Paisley.) The first of
the "Keens" to achieve some fame in America was Colonel
Marion Keen, Senior, of the 5th Alabama Infantry in the
Civil War. After his side lost, Colonel Keen moved west,
prospecting for gold in Colorado and meeting the famous
gunfighters Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson.

Marion Keen, Junior was born in Tucson, Arizona.
Later, in World War One, he served in the U.S. Army's
historic Rainbow Division. He lived to see his son become
a jet pilot. That son, David Keen, Senior, flew propellor-
driven Wildcat and Corsair fighter planes in World War
Two after surviving the Pearl Harbor bombing. Staying in
the Navy, David was commanding officer of the Pensacola
Naval Air Station for awhile, and learned to fly the two-
seater F-14 Tomcat jet when it came out. So I was told by
my passenger, David Keen, Junior--who said of his mother,
"She kept the home fires burning while everybody else was
making history."

My David told me that he "served in the Army to get
away from the Navy." (I told him, "You didn't get _very_
far away from it," as I showed him my Navy-retiree ID
card.) Raised as a Baptist, he had had conscience problems
about the Scripture "Thou shalt not kill." He, like many
soldiers, would have been spared the needless guilt feelings
if someone had just told him what hardly any preachers
get around to telling people--that THE ACTUAL HEBREW
TEXT of that commandment, as opposed to the usual flawed
English translation, only forbids MURDER, and does NOT
treat all taking of human life as automatically being
murder. Since late is better than never, I explained this
to him as we drove along I-74 toward Indianapolis.

In the 1970's, David played lead guitar for the middle-
of-the-road Christian singing group "Truth," recording on
the Integrity label. (This being a time when many Christians
were carrying residual hippie pacifism from the 1960's, he
didn't discuss his Army service with his bandmates.) He
then became a Baptist minister for several years. When I
asked him what doctrinal and social issues he felt the
church needed to pay more attention to--telling him that
whatever his answer was, it would find itself being reported
in my online column--he said that the doctrinal priorities
would be "what Jesus said about loving, giving and
forgiving," while the social issue needing more attention
would be homelessness.

I told David about my father's Air Corps adventures in
World War Two (including how Dad thwarted a Japanese
fighter that tried to shoot down his unarmed transport
plane), and about my mother's work for a local-history
museum in Illinois as a tour guide and article writer, to
illustrate that, even in a world of stupid music videos, there
still is an audience for history. I told him I hoped he could
preserve some of his family's history, with help if he didn't
feel up to writing it down unassisted. And I gave him my
my e-mail address, asking him to e-mail me and let me
know he made it safely to Mobile, Alabama. As I recall, he
said that his family grows oranges there on land that used
to be a cotton plantation.

If I ever get that e-mail from David Keen, Junior, I'll
send him a copy of this article, my final "Empowered For
Freedom" column of 2006. Big things are going on all
around us as 2007 approaches; but the world is still made
up of the individuals in it. And when you travel America's
roads, you meet some of those individuals--individuals
whom terrorists would enjoy killing for the fun of it, but
individuals for whom Jesus Christ shed His blood in
sacrificial atonement, then rose again to offer them
eternal life in His Father's Kingdom. (He makes the
same offer to the terrorists, but they aren't interested;
they prefer the version where they strut into an eternal
harem with Christian and Jewish blood on their hands.)
I hope there will still be some time granted to America,
in 2007 and beyond, for us to have the freedom to bear
witness for Jesus.

Let me share with you a saying I shared with David
as we drove: "God created men because He loves stories."
I love them too. I'll be including my hitchhiker on the
prayer list tonight, as Janalee and I pray the New Year
in together over the phone.

Yours for Jesus and America,

P.O.1 Joseph Richard Ravitts, U.S.N. Ret.

Monday, October 30, 2006

For those in the habit of praying...

30 October 2006:

I am encountering many complications in the process of moving Janalee and myself to Colorado. They promise to take so long that, even with the slow visit rate of this blog, the next person to look here will probably be doing so at a time when my situation is still going on. So please pray that I will be able to sell the house in Maryland, and get a new job soon. Thanks.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I hope this won't be the last time I'm able to post!

As I write this, barbarians ruling the once-highly-civilized land of Iran are trying to gain the power to destroy other nations, particularly Israel and America, for the unforgivable crime of not being ruled by the barbarians. Their madman-in-chief is claiming to be able to do something big on August 22. I didn't want this blog to be geopolitical, but events have a way of yanking our heads out of the sand, or severing our necks above the sand.

In the event of it NOT all being a bluff, we could soon be seeing a geometric increase in world strife, suffering and chaos. The means of killing people have gotten more terrible, and human beings have not gotten any less vulnerable. (No wonder we particularly like to fantasize about heroes who ARE less vulnerable to modern weapons, from old standby Superman to X-Man Wolverine.) And if terrorists succeed in doing large-scale harm to utterly-unprepared population centers, then for millions not instantly slain, further survival WILL depend on exactly the thing which this blog was first founded to discuss: loyalty between individuals.

When the neighborhood is bombed or burning, and you can't call the cops because all phones
are dead and so are the phone operators, it could make all the difference if you have others to whom you can turn in mutual help and support. Survivors of smaller-scale disasters have borne witness that caring about someone's survival _besides_ their own actually helped _them_ to stay alive too.

My deceased first wife Mary tried heroically to make a real community out of the street where we lived (the same street where Janalee and I now live). Mary saw that the War On Terror could bring about emergencies where neighbors would have no one BUT each other to call on for help. Mary is now safe in Heaven, but those of us down here may be facing a more violent mode of departure than hers. If you are reading this, and you _don't_ have any friends with whom you might make common cause for survival, try to find some! Even if you are reading this _after_ August 22 and the immediate Iranian threat did turn out to be a bluff, it _still_ is a good idea to form alliances. Mutual loyalties and cooperation are among the most vital of survival tools in dangerous times--and if the danger blows over, they give you someone with whom to share a deep sigh of relief.

Joseph "Copperfox" Ravitts